TRIWA stands for “Transforming the Watch Industry.” The Swedish watch brand trading under that name sells watches that are “modern statement symbols instead of traditional status symbols.” Timepieces that “highlight important issues of our time.” No Rolex? No woman, no cry! Think watch as virtue signaling, rather than ego projection. If you’re looking to signal your support for gun control, the $249 TRIWA Time for Peace watch is your huckleberry. Here’s the pitch . . .
Every minute a person is shot somewhere in the world. Every minute. There are hundreds of millions of illegal firearms in the world making the violence possible. Together with IM, Swedish Development Cooperation, we want to change this.
The collection of watches in Humanium Metal is made from destroyed weapons. For every watch sold you support the meltdown of more weapons and help finance the rehabilitation of victims of armed violence. By wearing a Humanium watch you join a global movement against armed violence.
As the founder of The Truth About Guns, I could argue that the TRIWA Time for Peace crusade against “illegal firearms” is deeply misguided. That firearms confiscation enables government tyranny, which has led to the death of millions of innocent people. That firearms ownership enables and protects human rights. That the right to own a gun is an extension of our natural right to self-protection.
But you’re here to read about watches, not debate gun control. So let me say this: they started it! TRIWA is the one saying that “illegal firearms” are responsible for “armed violence” – without considering the fact that tyrannical governments decide who can and can not legally own a gun. How’s that working out in Cuba? China? El Salvador? Anyway, there’s a bigger problem here: climate change.
As you’d expect from a watchmaker that’s built its business on social responsibility, TRIWA reveals the 39mm Time for Peace watch’s environmental impact. “This product’s carbon footprint has been calculated and certified using the 2030 calculator by Doconomy,” TRIWA assures us. The environmental org rates the watch’s carbon footprint at 1.66 KG CO2e for the case, 0.3 for the strap and .35 for the battery; for a total 2.31 KG CO2e.
What’s up Doc? Is that a lot? I know that eating meat causes drought, floods and extra-strong hurricanes. I know that the more energy required to produce a product, the worse its carbon footprint. And I know that HoDinkee’s deep dive on the process of creating Humanium leaves me thinking manufacturing this watch is a particularly energy intensive endeavor:
Transforming gun metal into a polished stainless steel requires a lot of heat and a lot of time. The metal arrives at Carpenter [Technology] as solid bars that are approximately 98 percent iron; by the time it’s ready for watch production, the metal has been transformed into fine stainless steel particles that are smaller than half a millimeter.
Getting to that point begins with [Per] Ingo’s team concocting a precise mix of metal. In the case of Triwa’s watch, it’s 18% chromium, 8-10% nickel, 2-3% molybdenum, and the rest is the iron from the gun metal.
Carpenter can melt up to 12,000 pounds of that metallic mixture in a furnace that’s heated to approximately 3,000 degrees. After about three hours, the bars turn molten and the liquid is poured into a small pot with two pencil-sized holes at the bottom.
As the liquid streams through the holes, it falls into an atomizing chamber and is hit by high-pressure nitrogen gas that breaks the material into tiny pieces. “It’s like a very hot shower,” Ingo says. While the droplets are falling 30 to 50 feet to the bottom of the chamber, they rapidly solidify into fine particles, which becomes the finished stainless steel powder Triwa can use for its watches.
That sounds like an awful lot of expended energy to me. Remember: this description starts after the “illegal” guns have been confiscated, dissembled, melted down into iron bars and shipped from El Salvador to Carpenter’s Swedish outpost. And doesn’t include the energy required to injection mold the stainless steel powder into a watch case.
Focusing on the carbon footprint of the TRIWA Time for Peace watch means turning a blind eye to the social costs involved. “Humanium Metal has to date participated in four destructions in El Salvador, resulting in the permanent removal of nearly 6.000 weapons from El Salvador’s communities,” the company reports.
“Humanium Metal operates as a platform that governments can use to highlight and expand their ongoing work to seize and destroy illicit firearms,” they add, ominously. Gun control FTW? Let’s check in with El Salvador’s legally-armed security forces via Human Rights Watch’s 2020 report, shall we?
El Salvador has among the world’s highest homicide rates. Gangs exercise territorial control over specific neighborhoods and extort residents throughout the country. They forcibly recruit children and subject women, girls, and lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) individuals to sexual abuse. Gangs kill, disappear, rape, or displace those who resist. These conditions have resulted in internal and cross-border displacement.
Security forces remain largely ineffective in protecting the population from such violence. They also have been implicated in serious human rights violations, including extrajudicial executions, sexual assaults, other acts of torture and other ill-treatment, and enforced disappearances. Impunity for such violations remains the norm.
If only we could remove all the guns! Meanwhile, does this sound like the kind of place where you’d want to be unarmed? Props to TRIWA for siphoning-off over $100k to Humanium’s gun violence victims’ rehabilitation work. But does anyone really think the removal of 6k “illegal” guns has any positive impact on El Salvador’s general population’s suffering?
Never mind. “Our collection of watches is designed to last, start conversations and tell stories,” TRIWA’s Our Story page avers. There’s no denying a minimalist quartz watch made out of recycled guns is chat worthy (this article is proof of that). But real virtue is earned, not purchased. And if it is, buying a Rolex does far more for humanity than buying a TRIWA Time for Peace. Start saving now. So to speak.